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I tried installing FreeBSD 12.0 from a USB, which went fine except that I had to do it in safe mode. After that there were no issues with the installation process save for networking.

Now that FreeBSD is installed (and the USB is removed), the installation menu still pops up when I start the machine, i.e. this menu:

1. Boot Multi user
2. Boot Single user
3. Escape to loader prompt
4. Reboot

Options:
5. Kernel: default/kernel (1 of 1)
6. Boot Options

Should I choose one of those, again, to get to a shell so that I can login? If so, which option? Looks more like something went horribly wrong.

FreeBSD is the only thing installed on the device (x86-64), and I have made no tweaks to the system (afaik).

  • Well that's what the installation menu looked like, so... Yes, I tried the first option again now and noticed that among all the error messages there actually is a login prompt. Except I can only login as root as not as the user I thought I created, so I guess I misunderstood something during installation... This is very confusing. EDIT: The comment I replied to seems to have been deleted. – Erik Vesterlund Jan 24 at 22:32
  • Yes, I deleted the comment after checking in the FreeBSD handbook. – Kusalananda Jan 24 at 22:52
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    That's the boot menu. There should be a 10s countdown before continuing with option (1). – Richard Smith Jan 24 at 23:03
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the installation menu still pops up when I start the machine

That is not the installation menu. That is the quite ordinary FreeBSD loader menu. (The fact that it is not prompting with ways to install stuff is a straightforward indicator that it is not an installation menu.) A bootable copy of the operating system on a removable device of course begins with the same operating system loader menu, even if the programs that the operating system runs once loaded are somewhat different.

On most FreeBSD systems it is the output of a Forth program that one can read in /boot/menu.4th. On some newer FreeBSD systems that has changed to a Lua program in /boot/menu.lua. These programs are loaded and run by Forth and Lua interpreters built into loader itself. As a novice who is simply installing the operating system, you don't really need to deal in either of these directly.

Both consult the autoboot_delay setting that is conventionally configured in /boot/loader.conf.local; or unconventionally configured in /boot/defaults/loader.conf or /boot/loader.conf or even /boot/loader.conf.pcbsd. These files one can manipulate with sysrc or just edit directly. The delay defaults to 10 seconds if no autoboot_delay is set.

There are manual pages covering all of these, albeit that they do not mention Lua at all.

Further reading

  • loader. FreeBSD System Manager's Manual. 2018-08-15.
  • loader.conf. FreeBSD File Formats Manual. 2018-10-06.
  • loader.4th. FreeBSD System Manager's Manual. 2013-11-13.

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